The Carnegie Museum of Art wants to attract new audiences with its social programming.

Hip-hop music from live DJs, local artists giving gallery tours, a feast of a dinner with a very cool film, and yoga among the sculptures: Just another night at the museum, right?

As part of a push to attract millennials and others who may not have visited lately, the Carnegie Museum of Art is launching a new round of innovative and fun social programming. The effort is spearheaded by Laura Zorch, the museum’s manager of social and entrepreneurial experiences, and promises to shed new light on the venerable institution.

“We want people to approach the museum in a fun way, in a social way,” Zorch says. “That’s the whole point of art, that people experience it and understand it in different ways.”

Zorch, who is the first person to hold the newly-created position, writes for eatPGH and is the former Educational Programs Manager of the city’s Office of Public Art. She’s been a welcome partner to community groups and others in Pittsburgh’s art scene, says D.S. Kinsel, visual artist and co-founder of BOOM Concepts in Garfield.

“It’s all felt very authentic,” Kinsel says of the programming. “We were honored to get the phone call, and we are looking forward to bringing some new life into the museum.”

He says it’s smart of the museum to focus on the younger art scene, since people who might be inclined to visit just don’t have the time in their schedules. And by trying new things the CMOA is bridging another gap in the city’s museum offerings.

“The Carnegie Museums are a great system,” Kinsel says. “But Pittsburgh doesn’t have a museum of modern art. It’s difficult to depend only on the Warhol [Museum] to bring contemporary art into the area.  That’s where you learn a lot about the artists of today, from a place like the MoMA.”

Kinsel and his BOOM Concepts colleagues will be part of the inaugural Third Thursdays event at the CMOA on Jan. 21, and will act as docents for the evening. “We asked them if we could take people through the museum and put our view on it,” Kinsel says. They’ll go through a training session with the regular docents first, because while they want to offer new perspective, they’re taking the job seriously. “We don’t want it to be just fluff and coolness.”

The evening also will feature a “silent disco,” where guests will be given headphones which can either provide an audio gallery tour or music from  either musician Christo or DJ EyeJay.

Member of BOOM Concepts have planned the first Third Thursday event at the Carnegie Museum of Art. Photo courtesy CMOA.
Members of BOOM Concepts have planned the first Third Thursday event at the Carnegie Museum of Art scheduled for Jan. 21. Photo courtesy CMOA.

Also at January’s Third Thursday visitors will also get a preview of the new exhibition by photographer Teenie Harris, Great Performances Off-Stage, which opens to the public on Jan. 22.

On Feb. 12, the museum will hold its first FEAST event, which pairs an art exhibit with a culinary experience (aka a great meal). The first of two such events scheduled this year, the February FEAST will feature a film NEXTpittsburgh highly recommends called The Living Need Light, The Dead Need Music, and a New Orleans-Vietnamese fusion meal, prepared by chef Michael Gulotta of New Orleans restaurant MOPHO.

The social calendar also includes monthly yoga classes which have already sold out for January, February and March featuring instructors from Yoga Hive in the museum’s Hall of Sculpture. Live music for the yoga classes will be provided by a member of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. And upcoming events will feature adult summer camp programs, and a 24-hour museum event in September.

“We want this to be a way for people to create their own museum experiences,” Zorch says of the social calendar. “If people haven’t visited in a while, we want to help them relate to what we do here. And we want them to have fun.”

For more information about social calendar events and ticket prices visit the CMOA events website or call 412-622-3131.

Kim Lyons is an award-winning writer and editor always on the lookout for a great story. Her experience includes writing about business, politics, and local news, and she has a huge crush on Pittsburgh.